Beauty giant L’Oreal has become the first brand to use a technology that places ads on publisher sites based on the hair color of women in photos.
The cosmetics company has taken great strides into the digital marketing world in the last few years and this extends to the use of consumer information provided by GumGum, which paints a picture of the consumer based on online behavior.
The Santa Monica-based technology and advertising company gathers information and helps produce more relevant adverts by using multiple technologies to programmatically understand the meaning of images so they become a more scalable opportunity for both publishers and brands.
What can L’Oreal then do with this information? It can use it to spread ads for its various lines, such as the Ombre hair color products, across more than 1,000 news and entertainment websites.
Speaking to Bloomberg Business Week, GumGum’s founder and CEO, Ophir Tanz, says that the company tracks and uses Web history to create a digital picture of what consumers probably look like.
It is not an exact science, but Tanz says it is a very accurate method of targeting things to consumers, and the results can be quite startling.
“Let’s say you’re browsing articles about hair care,” Tanz explains. “If you’re reading something about curly hair, we can see that.”
This piece of information is then paired with all the other bits of personal information that consumers leave on the internet, almost like a digital footprint. Then GumGum uses all that information to decide which ads to place in front of each consumer.
This can then make it easier for companies, like L’Oreal to target their ads to the right people, and not put them in front of someone who will have no interest in them.
Tanz’s thoughts are that if online ads can be directed to the right customers, the ads will become more effective and therefore worth more.
“I think what we’re seeing today is a very, very basic version of what online advertising will be like in the future,” he says.
“In-image ads work because they get seen, appearing on contextually relevant images, in-line with editorial content where a consumer’s attention is actively engaged.”